Caprice, Captiva, Colorado7, Cruze, Insignia, Malibu, Ute.
That’s the roll call of Holden badges that have just been – or soon will be – expunged from the brand’s new vehicle sales lists as the most dramatic rebuild in the General Motors-owned company’s history gathers pace.
The surprise deletion among that lot is Holden Cruze, which has just finished its run as a locally-built model and will not be the name of the small Korean-built sedan Holden will launch early next year.
Instead, Wheels sources insist, it will be badged as an Astra, unifying Holden’s small car contender under one name.
Holden has just launched the latest generation Opel-developed, Polish-built Astra five-door hatchback. It is the ninth of 24 new or updated models the brand will launch by 2020. The Astra sedan is based on the same D2XX architecture.
Much of this model overhaul and renaming is a result of 2017’s end of local manufacturing, which will claim the long wheelbase Caprice, the car-based monocoque Holden Ute and Holden Commodore sedan and wagon – although the latter name carries on into a fifth generation attached to an imported Opel Insignia.
The launch of the Commodore/Insignia signals the death of the current Insignia, sold here only as a turbocharged all-wheel drive VXR, by early 2017.
The Malibu is also on the way out having never gained much response from medium sedan buyers and clearly superfluous with the arrival of the imported Commodore.
On the SUV front the already defunct Captiva5 will be replaced by the Chevrolet-sourced Equinox in 2017, while the Holden Captiva7 (now known, again, as simply Captiva) soldiers on into 2018 and its replacement by the GMC-sourced Acadia.
Colorado7 had been facelifted and renamed Holden Trailblazer.
Continuing for the moment are the Cascada hard-top convertible and Astra GTC/VXR three-door, which are based on the old Delta II architecture but still in production in Europe.
Holden executive director of sales Peter Keley said the overhaul of Holden badges – Spark, Barina, Trax and Colorado continue along with Commodore and Holden Astra – represented an opportunity rather than a challenge for the brand.
“What you are going to be seeing is a very cohesive range of vehicles as we move forward,” Keley told Wheels.
“You will see a much more even spread. So you will have a spread of four or five vehicles doing similar volumes or significant volume, and then a second tier of models filling out the range.
“The days of a Commodore representing 50 per cent of sales … I don’t think you are going to see those sorts of things going forward.”
Keley said the current cadence of model launches is what we can continue to expect from Holden.
“At the end of the day what you will see from Holden going forward is at least a couple - two or three - brand new cars being launched and a couple of significant facelifts [per year] and that will become the norm.
“As Holden and General Motors have progressed out of bankruptcy … we are now back into being what I call a normal car company, with a very regular cycle of all-new products.
“We haven’t enjoyed that for a while. We have done that this year, we are doing it next year and it will continue on every year and that will become our business as usual.”
Holden needs this model renewal desperately; sales hit a 22 year low in 2015 and are set to drop again in 2016.
“We’ve got plans to grow volume and we are going to do that in a consistent manner because that is how you build sustainability,” said Keley.
“We are not tied to a specific market share or positon in the market place. It’s about hitting our internal targets, sending the right returns to General Motors so we can keep investing consistently in products for the Australian market.”